President Obama on Friday signed into law a bill authored by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that would bar an Iranian diplomat from entering the United States, but immediately issued a statement saying he won’t enforce it.
Obama decided to treat the law as mere advice. “Acts of espionage and terrorism against the United States and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity, and I share the Congress’s concern that individuals who have engaged in such activity may use the cover of diplomacy to gain access to our Nation,” Obama said in his signing statement.
“It is unconscionable that, in the name of international diplomatic protocol, the United States would be forced to host a foreign national who showed a brutal disregard for the status of our diplomats when they were stationed in his country,” Cruz said when he introduced the bill.
The legislation was directed at Hamid Abutalebi, whom Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tapped as U.N. ambassador, because of his alleged role in the 1979 student takeover of the U.S. Embassy.
The US and Iran are playing a strange game over this appointment in which Obama tries to dissuade Iran without taking too strong a stance while Iran figures it can humiliate him into accepting their terrorist ambassador.
And given Obama’s track record, Iran is probably right.